IndyCar Driver Review: Charlie Kimball

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As MotorSportsTalk continues its 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series driver-by-driver review, 14th was Charlie Kimball, who wasn’t able to mirror his breakout 2013 campaign.

2014 SEASON PREVIEW

Charlie Kimball

  • Team: Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing
  • 2013: 9th Place, 1 Win, Best Start 4th, 2 Podiums, 3 Top-5, 10 Top-10, 80 Laps Led, 12.8 Avg. Start, 10.9 Avg. Finish
  • 2014: 14th Place, Best Finish 3rd, Best Start 6th, 1 Podium, 4 Top-5, 10 Top-10, 0 Laps Led, 16.3 Avg. Start, 12.6 Avg. Finish

This was an odd year for Charlie Kimball. It was better on the whole than his first two seasons, yet failed to recapture the heights of his breakout 2013 campaign, when he ended ninth and ahead of Dario Franchitti in the championship.

One of the glaring weaknesses in 2014 was that Kimball suffered a drastic qualifying dropoff. A 12.8 grid average in 2013 fell to a 16.3 mark this year, and as such, left him more work to do on race days. He had flashes and occasional consistency in the first half of the year through Houston, with three top-five and six top-10 finishes. The last eight races only produced one top-five and none of the same heroics we’d seen him deliver on occasion.

The passion of frustration was really only evident at Long Beach, when he’d posted a barnburner drive from 19th up to sixth before a mechanical failure. It was a year that would have been better had it been Josef Newgarden-esque, on a single-car team, rather than as one of four Chip Ganassi Racing entries.

Sergio Perez wins rain-delayed race in Singapore over Leclerc; Verstappen seventh

Sergio Perez Singapore
Clive Rose/Getty Images,
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SINGAPORE — Max Verstappen’s Formula One title celebrations were put on hold after the Red Bull driver placed seventh at a chaotic Singapore Grand Prix, won by his teammate Sergio Perez on Sunday.

Perez’s second win of the season saw him finish 7.6 seconds ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, with Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. in third place.

Perez was investigated for a potential safety car infringement but still kept the win after a 5-second time penalty for dropping too far back after being warned.

Verstappen had won the past five races but needed to win here and finish 22 points ahead of Leclerc to be crowned champion for a second straight season. That could happen next weekend at the Japanese GP.

Verstappen made a mistake after the second safety car restart, following AlphaTauri driver Yuki Tsunoda’s crash on Lap 36. When Verstappen tried to overtake Lando Norris’ McLaren, he locked his tires and needed to pit again.

Leclerc started from pole position with Verstappen going from eighth after a team blunder in qualifying.

The race start was delayed by more than an hour to clear water off the Marina Bay Circuit track following heavy rainfall. Drivers had to finish the 61-lap race within a two-hour window; 59 laps were completed.

Tricky conditions saw the virtual safety car deployed three times and DRS was allowed with about 30 minutes remaining.

Perez made a good start and jumped past Leclerc while Verstappen dropped several places. The first safety car was on Lap 8 when Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo was cut off by Nicholas Latifi’s Williams.

Perez got away cleanly at the restart, while Verstappen climbed into seventh behind Fernando Alonso – whose 350th F1 race ended disappointingly when his engine failed on Lap 21, bringing out the first VSC.

With the track still damp, drivers decided against changing to quicker tires – apart from Mercedes’ George Russell, who struggled for grip.

Hamilton made a rare mistake on Lap 33 and thudded into the crash barrier. Soon after, the leading drivers changed tires in a flurry of stops. They did so just before the safety car was deployed again following Tsunoda’s error.

Verstappen overtook Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin right at the end for seventh place.